Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Global Perspectives on the ICC and Sudan

The cover story of the latest issue of the magazine 'Global Perspectives' sheds light on discussions around the International Criminal Court's warrant to arrest Sudan's President al-Bashir.

The president is accused of masterminding mass murder and crimes against humanity in the crisis region of Darfur. Since Sudan is not a member of the ICC treaty, the case was brought to the Court by the UN Security Council.

The controversial arrest warrant, while supported by the international human rights community, caused wide criticism in developing countries as well as among experts on Sudan. According to them, the Sudanese President is the only one holding the fragile peace process in Sudan especially in the Southern provinces together. His arrest would therefore destabilize a country that plans to hold elections in February 2010.

The African Union is going to investigate the case itself before it wants to take a position. Nonetheless, some of the 30 African signatories to the ICC charter have threatened to withdraw their membership if the al-Bashir Case is not withdrawn. They accuse the ICC of only investigating crimes in weaker countries while shying away from crimes committed by Western powers. In fact, all 13 warrants issued by the ICC deal with crimes in Africa. All but the Sudan case were referred to the ICC by African countries themselves.

The Sudanese government reacted by expelling humanitarian organisations from the country, accusing them of espionage. According to the UN, this will leave 1.1 million people, especially in the western region of Dafur, without food, 1.5 million without health care and more than a million without drinking water.

The issue also has an article on the Palestine Conflict. Baher Kamal argues that even if the Palestine State would be founded according to US and European wishes, it would cause new conflicts since their idea of Palestine is what the author calls a 'Cheese State'. The holes comprise Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well as other pieces of the West Bank and Gaza seenby Israel as necessary to its security, including water resources and fertile land.

Referring to the state security doctrines of some Arab countries and Israel, which depend on foreign enemies to ensure internal coherence, Baher Kamal doubts a fast solution of the conflict.

Global Perspectives is a bi-lingual (English/German) joint production by IPS Inter Press Service Europe and the Global Cooperation Council, published by Globalom Media. The monthly editions on various themes of international cooperation and development are dowloadable for free.

See also the Euforic newsfeed on IPS Europe.

by Martin Behrens